Creating a strong password
When you define your passwords, make sure you use a unique password for each of your important accounts, and consider changing your passwords regularly. Note that you are required to change your NetID password once a year, and that your new NetID password cannot be identical to your last NetID password. Don't reuse your NetID password for other accounts!
Passwords protect your accounts from unauthorized access. Strong passwords are more difficult for others to guess, thus making your accounts less likely to be compromised.
When you create a password for your NetID, your @u.northwestern.edu account, or any other account you may have, follow these guidelines:
- Use a minimum of eight characters. NetID passwords must be 8-31 characters in length.
- Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Consider how often you'll enter the password on a mobile device and choose symbols that are easy to enter on the device’s keyboard.
- NetID passwords must contain a non-alphanumeric symbol such as ( ! ] & * , + = : - )
- NetID passwords cannot include a caret ( ^ ), dollar sign ( $ ), a single quote ( ' ), a double quote ( " ), a number sign ( # ), a less-than sign ( < ), a question mark ( ? ), a pipe ( | ), a back quote ( ` ), or a backslash ( \ )
- Use a passphrase such as “MightyBlackhawks1&WinCup”
- Use a combination such as “Mfcw@97VWJ” for “My first car was a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta.”
- Don't include personal information that can be obtained from the Internet (name, birth date, home town, etc.).
- Don't use keyboard patterns (asdf), sequential numbers (1234), or repeating characters (aaaa).